10-25-01 I had done a search one evening on ebay for "RCA color," and somehow came up with a cabinet that was complete for the most part but had water damage at the bottom rear of the set. I promptly placed my bid, and ended up owning the empty cabinet for around $225 plus shipping, as I recall. The owner lived in the Philadelphia area and I in Buffalo, so I promptly sent the money and a pre-printed FedEx form with my personal account information.
My wife called me at work about a week after the auction closed to tell me that a HUGE box arrived, but that she didn't know of its condition because the FedEx driver had literally DROPPED it off the back of the truck! I arrived home to open the package and discover that the cabinet was still intact, due to a superior packaging job by the seller.
So, the next logical step was to trace down the parts to make it complete again. I had remembered an old ebay auction for a 15GP22 that had no electron-gun assembly, which presumably was used to distribute to cabinet manufacturers for sizing purposes, so I decided to contact the owner, thinking that "well, anything's better than an empty hole in the front."
The tube did not sell at auction, he still had the tube, and two weeks later I had it in my hands for $175.00, including shipping. I had something at this stage that could be made into a half-decent display piece, but the quest was far from over. Where in the world would I find a chassis for a CT-100?
To this end, Rob Stephens led me to trade emails with Steve McVoy, who had a spare-parts chassis, and in a generous move seldom-seen amongst collectors, agreed to give me the old chassis for his shipping costs, provided that I would agree not to sell the unit. The chassis was for the most part complete, missing a couple of pots and the flyback. Okay, the pieces are coming together!
Next thing tackled was all the missing mounting hardware. Steve had placed me in touch with a California collector who once owned a CT-100 that had been in a fire back in 1988, and he had saved the hardware in case somebody in the future might need it.
What luck! I ended up purchasing the mumetal picture tube shield, the mounting hardware, picture tube yokes, and a few other miscellaneous bits for around $125 as I recall.
I continued to acquire spares as I could, an extra tuner, the back, some spare brass trim, but the hardest finds were the knobs. I couldn't find them to save my life. Then, all of a sudden, on an ebay auction, a channel-selector knob appeared, complete. I was locked in a bidding war with another collector, but I knew that I had to get this knob, no matter the cost. As the auction closed, I took the lead in the last moments and purchased the knob for $102.50!
Upon trading emails with the knob's seller, he asked me if I needed the others. I sent him an extra $75, and finally I could begin to assemble the set!
I waited until this point to do the assembly because of the cabinet's water damage, which wasn't really visible, but made the cabinet structurally weak at the bottom rear. After a conversation with the curator of the MZTV museum, I decided that professional cabinet restoration was not the way to go with such an item, but rather preserving what is there.
So, my father, Michael Poliniak, a master woodworker, constructed a small, false frame inside the cabinet at the bottom, which could easily be removed if needed. It allows the set to actually sit 1/8-in. above the feet, indistinguishable, and unless you really look for it on your hands and knees, you'd never know it was there.
Now my CT-100 sits proudly in the upstairs bedroom, away from my loving toddler who adores knobs and switches. The only piece on the set that is not proper is the front control door, the so-called pencil box. It's my substitute until an original can be located. But we're still not at the end of this saga.
Finally, I came across a dud 15GP22 from another Chicago area collector that, unlike the present tube, has its electron-gun assembly. My theory is that if I keep improving the set, one-day I'll improve it to the point of working. I mean, after all, if you can go from a dream of owning a CT-100 to actually having one with hard work, persistence, and friends, then anything is possible!
10-26-01 All three cabinet numbers match. Cabinet serial 178 (x3), chassis B8003801.